Tuesday, October 25, 2016

How Should a Christian Vote? (Part II)

This post continues from where I left off in my previous post.

As noted, your voting decision becomes easy if you are in one of the States that in all likelihood will strongly favor one candidate over the other (see the color-coded map here: solid deep blue States [115 electoral votes] are expected to go for Clinton; solid dark red States [49 electoral votes] are expected to go for Trump). Whether you want to go with the flow or contrary to it, your vote will not make any difference to the outcome, so you might as well vote your conscience.

In very probably the same category are the States that are seen on the same map as either "likely Clinton" (medium blue; 54 electoral votes) or "likely Trump (medium red; 41 electoral votes). While a surge of new first-time voters, or a major development in the race, could change the predicted outcome, the results will probably not change if nothing else changes between now and November 8. So I would recommend that Christian voters in these States bide their time, and take the measure of the mood in their given State on November 7 before deciding finally how to vote. If nothing has changed by then, your decision will likely matter as little as it would have in one of the "solid" States. But if there is a change of opinion strongly in one direction or the other, your vote could become more important in proportion to the extent that the race has tightened up.

People in the so-called "battle-ground States" (see the States colored gray on this map) are expected to decide (as of this writing) the fate of no less than 140 Electoral College votes, while those in the States depicted as "leaning" one way or the other (light blue States, 103 votes; light red States, 36 votes) will determine a further 139 votes. Together, they make up more than half of the electoral college -- and this is why they are so crucial.

It is in just these States, because the margins are so close (down to single digits), that the polls are least to be trusted, for the reasons I gave in this earlier post. (Let me be precise: the polls as to these States are probably correct in showing that the race is tight. But they are likely incorrect in predicting a specific outcome that is still 14 days off.) Any new developments in the campaigns will likely have their greatest effect in these States, again because the margins of victory are already seen as so close.

The job of the Christian voter is twofold. The first aspect of it is to cast his vote, as discussed in Part I above, objectively for the best-qualified candidate, determined after a careful analysis of each in light of the abilities that this country will need in the next four years for leadership. This part of the job can be carried out now, without waiting for Election Day, because the candidates' abilities will not change between now and then. They are what they are.

The second aspect of the task is a little trickier: it is to make his or her vote, so determined, count to the greatest degree possible.

What does that mean? Consider elections (such as Florida's in 2000) which are won by just a few thousand votes, or even less. If such a result seems possible in your State this November, then both as a Christian and a citizen your duty is not just to vote yourself, but to see to it that other Christians (or secular friends with whom you see eye-to-eye politically) turn out to vote as well. This could mean volunteering to take people to the polls on Election Day, or help with candidate phone banks in the days leading up to November 8, or similar assistance in turning out the vote for your chosen candidate.

Note that I am not urging you to bring to the polls only voters who think, and who will vote (to the extent they will freely tell you) as you have decided to vote. Remember, you have no right whatsoever to ask a person to tell you how they intend to vote -- they may certainly volunteer that information, but otherwise it is strictly private.

No, what I am saying is that you should first assist your fellow Christians in going through the same careful analytical steps that you have, if they are willing to see their duty to do so, and then assist them in casting their vote to the extent they need assistance. Your duty as a Christian goes at least that far toward your fellow Christians, whether you know how they will decide or not.

Next, you may -- and should -- certainly assist any other non-Christian friends of yours, again in exactly the same manner, to they extent they are willing to receive your assistance.

And of course, you may see it as your Christian duty to join a given campaign in order to get out the vote for a particular candidate -- that, too, is certainly allowed if you have done your objective analysis beforehand. ("Objective" in this sense is a relative term that depends on the individual exercising the very best talents and skills for impartial analysis which God has given them. There will be no one "objective" answer that is the same for everyone, since not everyone has the same talents, or exercises them in the same way. God asks only of each of us that we do our very best.) 

And thus the third Christian principle comes into play, in these States where the race will be close: it can be summed up in the phrase God helps those who help themselves. Yes, this nation is under God's judgment, and yes, this election is in His hands. But Christians who are situated to make a possible difference in the outcome cannot remain passive and fulfill their obligation to serve Him as best they are able.

Now, having said all the foregoing, I want to take this analysis one step further, and show how a Christian who has objectively decided that neither of the major candidates would be a suitable leader for this country may still -- in certain key States, at least -- be able to affect the outcome of this election. To do so, however, will require a separate post, because the analysis will have to get a little technical.


  1. Washington State has gone all mail ballot, so there are no 'exit polls', no influencing people going to the polls, etc. Do we have the best chance of an honest election? I think it is possible.
    Jim of Olym

  2. Our family of four spent over an hour to wait at our early voting location to cast our votes. Though we'd been discussing these elections for a year, we continue to discuss the possible outcome and its possible impact for Americans.

    I know HRC lied when she said that she wants to bring people together because her policy agenda actaully sets them apart. During a presidential election year, the other candidates and judges on the ballot do not get a lot of press; so reading about them is an important thing to do. For example, if a candidate on your ballot is a Democrat and you know the Democrat Party platform, then you know what things that this person supports. If you do not know then you can simply visit the party's website or use the phone book or visit a library to find information to a local political party representative to help you learn more about the people running for public office. But, by now you've probably received so many fliers and post-cards in the mail that you may not need to do more.

    The press is also disposed to shush up scandals for the candidates that they'd like to have elected to official government positions, such as the CiC and other important political positions. This is an important fact because too many peope are persuaded by what they see on TV or in the 'news'. If we have major bias in the news then we have a big problem in our nation. Just think about the Iranian newspapers or the Palistine Authority newspapers.

    Regardless, Jesus requires us to be joyful and thoughtful and, above it all, he requires us to be God loving and then people loving. Firstly, master the art of pleasing God with actions (know His Word) and secondly, treat others with respect (carry out God's word.) These good commands will likely enable people to assess their judgements properly.

    I am wishing y'all well with your decisions about voting.